Mourning Pendant

A remembrance piece such as this brooch is representative of mourning jewelry worn during the early nineteenth century. Death rituals were an important part of family life, and they were marked by women wearing mourning clothes as well as mourning jewelry after an acceptable period of time during the extended mourning period. The weeping willow that is depicted in this scene was a popular mourning motif in the nineteenth century.
This brooch dating from 1800-1820 is oval shape with an elaborate gold loop for hanging. Gold metal forms the border on the front with a central plaque painted with a mourning scene of a woman and child by a tomb, marked with the words "Rest in Peace." A weeping willow hangs over an urn that rests on top of the tomb. The plaque is covered with convex glass. The plain gold back is engraved with the initials "EMW" at the center. The brooch measures 3 ½ inches by 2 1/4 inches overall.
This brooch was a favorite family piece of the donor's. The initials on the back of the piece were of an unknown ancestor.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Accessories Worn on the Body
Date made
Physical Description
gold (loop material)
ivory (placque material)
glass (covering material)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 2 1/4 in; 8.89 cm x 5.715 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Clothing & Accessories
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Costume
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bequest of Nadine Lane Chapman
Additional Media

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